Irish man tasered on plane in 'dispute over wearing man purse' is sectioned
Published 21/08/2015 | 13:15
A man who was Tasered by police on board an aircraft at Gatwick airport has been detained under the British Mental Health Act.
Sussex Police said the 37-year-old was taken off the easyJet flight to Belfast shortly after 8am on Thursday after being arrested by firearms officers called to the aircraft by the crew.
A Taser was used to make the arrest in the interests of the safety of the passengers, crew and the man himself.
The man, from Belfast, was arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace and obstructing/resisting a constable in the execution of their duty.
A police spokesman said: "On Thursday evening, following examination by doctors, he was detained under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act for admission into a psychiatric unit for further assessment and treatment in the interest of his own health, safety and protection of others."
Earlier it was reported that the incident leading to the arrest was because he wanted to take two pieces of hand luggage on to the plane.
Police said there were reports of a passenger who was becoming increasingly abusive following a dispute over luggage.
After the man was arrested, people were taken off the plane and witnesses gave statements to police.
Passenger Niall Copeland posted on Twitter: "Man getting arrested on @easyJet flight home to Belfast because he wants 2 pieces of hand luggage! I'll never mess with easyJet now!"
He added: "All because he was insistent of wearing his man purse. He tried to insinuate that it was racially motivated."
Johny Cassidy posted: "Whoop whoop. easyJet have just offered a complimentary soft drink to all the passengers. Big spenders."
An easyJet spokeswoman said: "EasyJet can confirm that police boarded flight EZY831 from London Gatwick to Belfast on August 20 due to a passenger behaving disruptively.
"EasyJet's cabin crew are highly trained to assess and evaluate all situations and to act quickly and appropriately to ensure that the safety of the flight and other passengers is not compromised at any time.
"Whilst such incidents are rare we take them very seriously, do not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour on board and always push for prosecution.
"The safety and well-being of passengers and crew is always easyJet's priority."